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Old February 15, 2001, 01:04 PM   #1
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I seem to remember seeing some motivational speakers on TV awhile back that were strongmen who used feats of strength as metaphors for their message. One such feat was to break cuffs one was cuffed in. Questions: What does it take to do that? Is it possible to do it w/ your hands behind your back (his weren't)? Do LEOs worry about it?
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Old February 15, 2001, 02:01 PM   #2
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Among other things, what make were the cuffs? I don't know if I could do it, but I can see a bodybuilder snapping a pair of cheap cuffs that places like "Smokey Mountain Knife Works" sell. A good pair of Smith&Wesson cuffs is another matter entirely.
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Old February 15, 2001, 02:10 PM   #3
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I've never seen it done myself, but I have seen a set of cuffs that were broken. They belong to a friend of mine who says it was a rather large and extrememly intoxicated indiviual who simply didn't want to wear them anymore. Not a situation I'd like to be in.

I don't remmeber hearing what the tensile strength of the chain for modern cuffs is, 300lbs runs in my mind, but that's no gurantee I'm right. I do know that anyone who can break my handcuffs has automatically done two things. He has shown that he can endanger my life with his bare hands and shown that he is very uncooperative. (draws firearm and covers individual, tosses extra set to him and says: "Please put these on before I have to shoot you..." )
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Old February 15, 2001, 02:35 PM   #4
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Your're talking about "The Power Team". I've seen them do that and they've always been handcuffed in front and have alot ALOT of tape or something that wraps up their wrists. Do I worry about it being an LEO. If someone broke my cuffs I'd probably get nervous!!!
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Old February 15, 2001, 06:28 PM   #5
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Morphius broke his in The Matrix with just a little grunting. But then he's tough enough to jump out of the building and get rescued even after Agent Smith shot him in the leg with the DE. I probably couldn't do that.
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Old February 15, 2001, 09:45 PM   #6
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I don't think even the Incredible Hulk could break these!

Typical shackle-style handcuffs, these are very heavy (12 lbs.!). They use push-to-lock multi-bit cylinder locks. The connecting chain is quite long (12" or so).

Not exactly your everyday carry issue cuffs though.
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Old February 15, 2001, 11:29 PM   #7
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I think if I tried to break cuffs, all I would accomplish is getting one heckofa boo-boo on my wrists. LOL
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Old February 16, 2001, 12:23 AM   #8
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If I were holding a person in handcuffs awaiting transport by the authorities, and said individual broke my S&W cuffs, that person had best become very firghtened.

That is because he would have on very scared fat old fart pointing a gun at him. I just hope his daddy taught him that a frightened man will kill a person much faster than an angry one.

I've been known to tell people that I scare easily.

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Old February 16, 2001, 06:15 AM   #9
Dave McC
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Willy Burnett, incarcerated in Md for the last 20 some years, used to and probably still does break decent quality handcuffs. He's pretty wacked out, and also has absolutely destroyed a solid concrete slab he was to use as a bed, having busted up the steel bed that's standard issue.
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Old February 16, 2001, 07:50 AM   #10
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I've never seen it done, but I've heard an LEO I know talk about seeing it a few times. He says there's a bit of technique involved, bracing the cuffs against one another for leverage somehow. I didn't really get how it's done. But he did point out that while strength was important, a high pain threshold was more important in order to put enough pressure on the chains to break them (usually, they break at the cuff-to-chain connection). Often, the wrist breaks, too.
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Old February 16, 2001, 08:50 AM   #11
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Put 'em in a pair of Hiatt's Ultimate cuffs, which have a solid hinge instead of a chain, and I'll bet they won't break 'em.
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Old February 16, 2001, 09:31 AM   #12
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Seen it done on many occasions. It is one of those not so much brute strength as knowing how to do it things. Cuffs (and leg irons) were Peerless and S&W. In a couple of instances, the individuals not only broke the cuffs but also swallowed them after breaking them up into individual components.

Absolutely true,

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Old February 16, 2001, 09:52 AM   #13
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I think I remember seeing a video in high school meant to scare us away from drugs that showed a thin, naked, PCP'ed guy snapping a set during an arrest attempt.

On a related note, how strong are the tie-wrap kind they use for riots ? After all the air-rage incidents lately, I always carry a couple heavy duty tie wraps in my carry-on bag.

oh, and yes... that video DID indeed scare me away from drugs.
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Old February 16, 2001, 12:33 PM   #14
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David Scott, didn't a lot of departments quit using the hinged cuffs because of lawsuits? IIRC, it was too easy for someone to accidentally (?) break their wrists in them.
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Old February 16, 2001, 03:21 PM   #15
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The chains on S&W and Peerless handcuffs, have a breaking point of 1,900 lbs. PSI. I know of one case where a 16 year old girl was arrested at the Pasadena Rose Parade for being "under the influence." She was absolutely "dusted!" Flying on PCP, "Angel Dust."

This girl popped the chain on a pair of S&W cuffs. This was witnessed by several Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, including a Sworn Reserve Deputy, a doctor, who was working the County medical tent at the parade. The doctor told me that he'd never seen anything like it, nor had the Deputies. The girl broke bones in both wrists and hands... but she didn't even feel it. That's the thing about "Angel Dust": no pain, no shock, no restraint.

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Old February 17, 2001, 01:47 AM   #16
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Generally (well at least I've never witnessed otherwise) the body of the cuff will break before an unaltered chain. I have seen chains broken but only after the occupant had the opportunity to damage the chain by rubbing it on some surface that succeeded in grinding and weakening a link.


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Old February 17, 2001, 03:00 PM   #17
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My father-in-law was a small town cop. Told me he personally saw a prisoner break a pair of S&W cuffs just to let the jailers know he could. Never had any problem with the inmate. He just wanted to show he could do it.

Pops also said the old jail used huge padlocks on the outside of the cell doors. Saw an inmate reach through the bars and twist off the padlock just to show he could leave anytime he wished--never had any problem with him either.

I suppose there are some folks who have unusual strength and unusual pain tolerance levels.

BTW, I've never had a prisoner break my cuffs or flexcuffs. I suppose I'd be quite scared if it happened!
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Old February 18, 2001, 09:35 AM   #18
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I had a big prisoner tell me not to cuff him. Dept policy was to do just that so I did. He flexed and snapped the links and said, " I don't like cuffs." Looked and acted like Mongo of Blazing Saddles. Don't ever think a handcuffed prisoner is a safe prisoner.
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Old February 19, 2001, 03:12 PM   #19
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Heh... That'd be one of those "Now behave yourself, and I won't shoot you" scenarios...

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Old February 19, 2001, 09:15 PM   #20
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I can see it now: "Mongo not like cuffs"
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Old February 19, 2001, 10:28 PM   #21
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Danger Dave, I'm not aware of any cases where the poor little helpless felon complained because they broke their poor little wrists on because the cuffs weren't weak enough to break. If I had heard of such a thing, I'd be nauseous with contempt. They are called restraints for a reason.
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Old February 20, 2001, 11:53 PM   #22
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Had a critter show me how to break a pair of 'cuffs once. He used the square hole in the tab of an ordinary seatbelt. He popped the rotating link that joins the chain to the body of the 'cuffs, using the seatbelt tab for leverage.

Whenever a critter opined that he wasn't going to wear 'cuffs, he automatically got the Peerless hinged handcuffs and a gentle warning not to break his hand off.

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Old February 23, 2001, 05:22 PM   #23
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Strangely enough I think I'd be more `confidant' about a set of cuffs made out of some of the newer polymers VS metal. The reasoning being that the polymer ones could be made to flex a lot more without snapping when a force was applied to them. (And for those that would worry about stretching... All that would have to be done would be to design the polymer `chain' to provide the necessary `linear' strength to resist the stretching. It wouldn't affect how it would react to `torsional' effects.)

Having said that I think that until someone or some company actually does sit down and design a set I'll stick with one of the `old fashioned' `tried and true' sets for now. (And this is even after I saw just how much it actually takes to snap, or in this particular case not snap, a *properly applied* `cable tie' setup! [The prisoner that was wearing them ended up with both wrists broken and some *very* livid bruises! But! He *didn't* get them off and because he'd `hardened' them with his struggles it actually took a pair of *bolt cutters' to cut them off! The pair of 8" `dikes' they tried first, after the scissors, wouldn't touch them! This guy was a cross between Mongo and Magilla the Gorilla! I would hated to have seen just what anything besides a pair of `super cuffs' would have been like from what one of the officers said had happened before.])

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Of course I'm out of my mind, it's dark and scary in there!
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Old June 17, 2001, 01:26 AM   #24
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it would take at least a thousand pounds of pressure to break those chains cause that is the limit of most hancuff chains.
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Old June 19, 2001, 08:01 AM   #25
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David Scott, I think the incidents were more like where the cuffed suspect (felons are convicted, suspects are under arrest) either fell, or the cuffs were grabbed by the officer to control him. The lack of a chain supposedly transfers more stress to the cuffed individual's wrists...

Now, if they broke their wrists trying to get out of them, I agree - too bad, too sad.
I hope these evil men come to understand our peaceful ways soon - My trigger finger is blistering!
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